Friday, February 27, 2015

Unbound by J.B. Simmons - REVIEWED

About the BookElijah Goldsmith has nightmares he needs to ignore. Why would a rich kid from Manhattan dream three straight nights about a dragon and the destruction of St. Peter’s Basilica? He’s never even been to Rome. 

It’s bad timing, too. He’s graduating soon and applying to be a spy in the International Security Agency. That’s where he meets Naomi. She’s the kind of girl who makes boys like Elijah want to share their secrets. Were they brought together to learn what his secrets mean? There’s more to their sparks than they think. 

This is 2066, the year the world ends.

My Thoughts:
“ Each one was like a door with a dream behind it.  I did not want to walk through any more doors like that.” (p. 285)

If I were Elijah Goldsmith, I think I’d pray to stay awake the rest of my life!  This guy has a really active dream life!  But I’m ahead of myself.  Unbound is a futuristic blend of real life, prophecy, and spiritual warfare that is complex and very entertaining!  Definitely action-packed, but built around very likable, believable characters.

I’ll be honest, I’m not sure I followed every plot twist exactly.  This particular genre is not my forte by any means.  But I was utterly fascinated.  The characters were younger than I expected, but their actions and reactions to all that happened to them seemed much more mature.  There is also a lot of secrecy and duplicity that I was unable to unravel.

It’s a good thing this is the first in a trilogy!  I have two more books to figure out who belongs to which side of the conflict!  This is a book that grabs you and doesn’t let go!  Be warned!  You may lose sleep.

About the Author:
J.B. Simmons writes thrillers with an apocalyptic twist, and political philosophy clothed in fantasy. His latest novel, Unbound, tells the story of a rich kid from Manhattan with nightmares of a dragon and the world ending in 2066.

J.B. lives outside Washington, DC, with his wife, two toddlers, and an intriguing day job. He writes before dawn and runs all day. 
Learn more at

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Seek and Hide by Amanda Stevens - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Seek and Hide
David C. Cook (September 15, 2014)
Amanda Stevens


As a child, Amanda G. Stevens disparaged Mary Poppins and Stuart Little because they could never happen. Now, she writes speculative fiction. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in English and has taught literature and composition to home-school students. She lives in Michigan and loves books, film, music, and white cheddar popcorn. Amanda's first novel, Seek and Hide, will be available September 15, 2014 from David C Cook.


Six years ago, the government took control of the church. Only re-translated Bibles are legal, and a specialized agency called the Constabulary enforces this and other regulations. Marcus Brenner, a new Christian, will do anything to protect his church family from imprisonment--including risk his own freedom to gain the trust of a government agent. Aubrey Weston recanted her faith when the Constabulary threatened her baby. Now released, she just wants to provide for her son and avoid government notice. But she's targeted again, and this time, her baby is taken into custody. If only she'd never denied Him, maybe God would hear her pleas for help. When Aubrey and Marcus's lives collide, they are forced to confront the lies they believe about themselves. And God is about to grab hold of Marcus's life in a way he'd never expect, turning a loner into a leader.

If you'd like to read the first chapter of Seek and Hide, go HERE.

My Thoughts:
God, is that what I’m doing? Paying for…everything?”  (p.398)

At the point Marcus Brenner whispers this prayer to God, he has been through some very fiery trials that have left him doubting and empty.  He has struggled against the government’s  “thought police” – the Constabulary – not realizing that his own efforts would never be enough.  The Bible has been banned – other than the government’s re-translated version -  and true believers are being arrested and taken to re-education camps.  Marcus has been called to rise against this movement to obliterate Christianity.

Except Marcus is sometimes too busy battling his own weakness to remain effective in the fight.  Until he asks himself this very probing question.  Sound familiar?  It is a struggle I’m all too familiar with.  Trying to look for ways to convince myself that I’m unworthy to fight in the war God has equipped me to fight in.  Thus making myself ineffective.  I think it’s a struggle for all believer’s at some point, and that’s what makes the characters and their trials so meaningful.  We can all relate to one or more of their struggles.

I think the point is to never give up.  Accept God’s grace and live to fight another day.  Don’t become our own worst enemy.  That was my take away from this very unique book.  It’s not such a far stretch to imagine something like a Constabulary.  It’s not hard to imagine the duplicity and discernment needed to fight such an insidious evil.  And it begs the question Marcus asks himself:  “God, is that what I’m doing?  Paying for….everything?”  Instead of accepting that Jesus’ death was sufficient and that God’s grace is sufficient.

This is a very unique and thought-provoking book.  The tension and intensity of the plot build gradually, and you are allowed time to know and care for the characters.  This is a book I’m pleased to recommend.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Best-Selling Author and Filmmaker Joe Amaral Examines the Heavens in New Documentary, “Story in the Stars”

(TORONTO, Ontario) -- From bestselling author and award-winning filmmaker, Joe Amaral, comes the new documentary, “Story in the Stars,” to be released on March 2nd in a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack.

Since the beginning of time man has wondered, what’s up there, who put it there and why. After an intense dream during the cold Canadian winter of 2012, Amaral decided to look up the images he had seen: a woman in the heavens, a looming dragon and millions of stars.

“These images eventually led me to Revelation 12,” says Amaral. “It was exactly as I had seen them in my dream. Over two thousand years ago, the apostle John, who wrote the book of Revelation, was on the island of Patmos. It would have been pitch black with zero light pollution, and the stars would literally have been popping out of the night sky. After some fierce study and comparison, I realized that the images that John was describing in the book of Revelation, perfectly lined up with the constellations in the sky. This led me to search out the Scriptures for other evidence that God was the source and the root of the constellations.”

After years of careful study and analysis, Amaral reached the conclusion that each of the twelve zodiacs were created and positioned by God to tell the greatest story ever told, and He wrote it in the stars.

“Story in the Stars” uses biblical, historical and scientific knowledge to reveal how each constellation actually points us back to Jesus, and that the message of salvation is written in the stars for all of mankind to see. This is presented in a way that Amaral believes is not only eye-opening for Christians, but also for people who need to be free from the ties of horoscopes and astrology. 

“Instead of looking to the stars for direction, we can look to the One who made those stars,” says Amaral. “For God so loved the world that He designed the universe to reveal the plan of salvation in the stars.” 

Watch the official trailer here:

Visit the official website here:

Joe Amaral is a pastor and itinerant teacher who travels and speaks internationally, teaching on the Hebraic Roots of Christianity for over 12 years. He has his own syndicated television program (“First Century Foundations”) and is the best-selling author of “Understanding Jesus” and “What Would Jesus Read,” both from FaithWords. Amaral has produced several teaching series and documentaries, and his latest project, “Story in the Stars,” combines his love of astronomy with his faith in new and thought-provoking ways. Amaral is available to speak at churches and events.

Follow Joe Amaral:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Lift the Flap Bible - Reviewed

About the Book:
What's under the flaps? Find out in this collection of eight very simple Bible stories in a large cased board book format. Each story is told across a double-page spread and there are flaps on every page. Bright, quirky illustrations full of wit and color from Louise Anglicas are perfect for this engaging introduction to Bible stories.

Stories are: Noah and the Ark, Moses and the Bulrushes, Daniel and the Lions, Jonah and the Great Fish, Born in a Stable, Boy with Loaves and Fishes, The Lost Sheep, and Man Lowered Through the Roof.

My Thoughts: 
Lift the Flap Bible has a target audience of 10+ months.  I think this will make a great teaching tool for parents who want to introduce their child to the Bible.  The stories selected are ones that highlight God’s power and love for His creation.  The flaps cover elemental parts of the story, and will not confuse any child.  Rather, what is uncovered will reveal a slightly more detailed truth. 

I was and remain a huge advocate of reading to infants from the womb and throughout every phase of their growth!  Lift the flap books were a key ingredient in the lives of my own children, and now, as adults, they are avid readers! 

The pictures and concepts in this book and clear, colorful and easy to grasp.  Each page will engage without overwhelming the child, and will leave opportunities for discussion for months as the child grows in understanding.  This book allows the parent to fulfill God’s command to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  This is a win-win book for both parents and children!

About the Author:
Karen Williamson worked as a London primary school teacher and publisher’s editor before launching a successful career as a full-time writer. With three children of her own, she specializes in Bible stories for young readers. 

About the Illustrator:
 Louise Anglicas holds a degree in Ceramics and Surface Design from Staffordshire University. Working as a designer, she was instrumental in securing the Harry Potter license for a local ceramic manufacturer! She applies her love of pattern and design to the world of children’s illustration. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

The Crimson Cord by Jill Eileen Smith - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Wife to a gambler who took one too many risks, Rahab finds herself sold as a slave to cover her husband's debt. Forced into prostitution, she despairs of ever regaining her freedom and her self-respect. But when Israelite spies enter Jericho and come to lodge at her house, Rahab sees a glimmer of hope and the opportunity of a lifetime.

In one risky moment, she takes a leap of faith, puts her trust in a God she does not know, and vows to protect the spies from the authorities. When the armies of Israel arrive weeks later, Rahab hopes they will keep their promise, but she has no idea what kind of challenges await her outside Jericho's walls--or if she will ever know the meaning of love.

Under Jill Eileen Smith's talented hand, the familiar story of Rahab bursts forth in high definition. Immerse yourself in a world of dark and dusty streets, clandestine meetings, and daring escapes as a mysterious biblical figure claims her full humanity--and a permanent place in your heart.

My Thoughts:
She would never be free of the greed of fools.”  (p. 91)

Considering Rahab’s circumstances, I am quite sure she felt this way on more than one occasion.  Jill Eileen Smith does a most excellent job of recreating an accurate depiction of Rahab’s life as a prostitute during ancient times.  Her recognition of God’s power when the spies came to her was a powerful moment – her first step toward accepting God’s presence in her life and submitting to His will.  From the moment she comes to live among the Israelites  to the moment she weds  Salmon, the reader has  a front row seat to the transforming power of grace. Rahab’s thirst after God is not slaked even after she becomes part of the lineage of Christ.  She thirsts for His presence always!

What a mighty picture of God’s grace toward us as His redeemed children!  How marvelous that He chose to redeem Rahab’s life and record it for believer’s to read throughout time!  I was Rahab before Christ set me free!! We all were!  We were as hopeless as she felt when she was bound in prostitution and made to be the brief satisfaction of men’s fleeting desires.  BUT GOD took that away from her! Forgave her! Embraced and loved her and placed her in the lineage of Christ!  THAT, dear reader, is a beautiful picture of grace!

No one writes biblical fiction like Jill Eileen Smith! No one places you on the ground and in the skin of biblical characters and remains accurate to both historical content and biblical content!  The story of Rahab is now fresh in my heart and her story of grace increases my praise for my own forgiveness and great grace!

RUN to the store and begin reading The Crimson Cord today!  It is most excellent! 

About the Author:
Jill Eileen Smith is the bestselling author of the Wives of King David series, the Wives of the Patriarchs series, and The Desert Princess, first in the Loves of King Solomon series. Her research into the lives of biblical women has taken her from the Bible to Israel, and she particularly enjoys learning how women lived in Old Testament times. Jill lives with her family in southeast Michigan. Learn more at

Thursday, February 19, 2015


NASHVILLE, Tenn.  Rebellion, redemption and rock 'n' roll combine to create an intriguing backdrop for the faith and family-friendly feature film, The Identical. This powerful story about a young man's search for purpose and identity continues building momentum following its release to the home video market on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, DVD, VOD and Digital HD January 13 from City of Peace Films, Capitol Christian Distribution and Cinedigm (NASDAQ: CIDM). It can be found at Christian retailers including Family Christian, LifeWay Christian, Mardel, Parable, Munce Group and Covenant Group, as well as Walmart, Amazon and more. 
Print and online Christian media embraced the film with open arms. Christian Music Reviewcalled it " of the more original movies I have seen in a long time," and went on to declare, "I absolutely loved it." Christian Retailing ran a feature story on the project called "Separated at Birth But Connected by Music: The Identical Explores the Power of Calling."Sonoma Christian Home gave it a 4-star review and dedicated full page to the feature, and Jesus Freak Hideout posted interviews with producer Yochanon Marcellino and star Blake Rayne, respectively.

Christian television is also playing a roll in fueling the fire for The Identical. Fans of the film can look forward to CTN's Bridges television show, Juce TV's Hot Off The Press and Cornerstone Television Network's Real Life, all of which have secured interviews with Marcellino and Rayne during the month of March.   
 The Identical, which won the Nashville Film Festival Audience Award - U.S. Narrative, features an all-star cast, including Golden Globe nominees Ray Liotta (Goodfellas, Field of Dreams) and Ashley Judd (Dolphin Tale 2, Divergent), as Reverend Reece Wade, a depression-era preacher who lives his faith, and his wife Louise; Brian Geraghty (Ray DonovanSeven Days in Utopia, The Hurt Locker) and Amanda Crew (Charlie St. Cloud), as William and Helen Hemsley, the impoverished parents of twins who just want to do right by their boys; Seth Green (Austin Powers, Family Guy) as Ryan's friend Dino, who introduces him to the 'worldly' joy of rhythm & blues; Joe Pantoliano (The SopranosThe Matrix) as Ryan's employer and mentor Avi Hirshberg; newcomer Blake Rayne in the pivotal dual roles of Drexel Hemsley and Ryan Wade; and Erin Cottrell (the Love Comes Softlyseries) as Ryan Wade's wife.
The Identical offers viewers a compelling 'what if' story. What if twin brothers were born to a poor couple during the Great Depression? What if another young couple, a preacher and his wife who were unable to have children, agreed to take one of the boys and raise him as their own? What if one of the twins grows up poor, but achieves meteoric fame and fortune in the heady days that gave birth to rock 'n' roll? What if the other twin has the same musical gifts, but struggles between chasing fame and pleasing his parents? What if his ultimate choice uncovers the long buried family secret about his identity?

"The Identical intertwines meaningful themes of faith, family, fatherhood, forgiveness and finding your true calling in life," declares Focus on the Family's influential Plugged In website.

Christian Film Database calls The Identical a "story about the restoration and the reconciliation of a family broken apart by culture, creed and tradition," and says "movie-going audiences will be drawn to this timeless tale of love, hope and redemption that speaks to all generations."

"Liotta is totally convincing as Reece. Opposite him, Judd has her best role in years. The surprise of the film is Rayne. He seems to have been created to play this should latch on to him and make him a star," says Jackie K. Cooper of The Huffington Post. "This movie entertains--totally. Believe me on that." 
The Dove Foundation awarded The Identical its Dove "Family-Approved" Seal for ages twelve plus, calling it an "original and clever movie [that] entertains and should not be missed!"

The Identical DVD and Blu-ray features over 20 original songs, all produced and co-written by Motown legend, Jerry Marcellino, and the film's producer, Yochanan Marcellino. The CBA version of The Identical DVD features additional bonus material that is not available in the general market version. For more information on The Identical, or like on Facebook at

The Identical is a redemptive movie about a young man, the son of a preacher, who rejects his father's desire for him to join the ministry and instead embarks on a career as a rock singer. As he struggles to pursue his dream and rise to stardom, he finds love, pain, success and failure, and ultimately uncovers a hidden family secret that reveals who he really is. It's a captivating story about a family restored, and a life discovered.
About City of Peace Films:
City of Peace Media and City of Peace Films includes, but is not limited to, the following list of creative services: major physical and digital distribution, record production, artist management, artist development, music publishing, song development, art direction, graphic design, website development, music video production, film production and film development. City of Peace Media also consults in the following strategic areas: marketing plan development, public relations planning, radio promotion, publicity, advertising, touring and name branding. The primary focus of City of Peace Media and City of Peace Films is to provide a framework where music, films and video with "redeeming value" can be developed, produced and distributed worldwide, bringing a message of hope, love and encouragement to this generation.

About Capitol Christian Distribution: 
Capitol Christian Distribution is the market leader Christian and Gospel music distribution and represents a diverse range of chart topping Christian films and books reaching the US Christian and general retail marketplace, and the international Christian marketplace. Since this distribution division was launched, Capitol Christian has had more charting titles annually on Billboard's Top Christian charts than any other Christian distributor and has been named Billboard Magazine's Top Christian Music Distributor 15 times since 1995. 

In addition to distributing Capitol Christian Music Group's fully-owned labels, which include Sparrow, ForeFront, and Credential imprints, as well as Motown Gospel and Worship Together, Capitol Christian Distribution has exclusive distribution agreements with Centricity Records, City on A Hill, City of Peace Records, Difference Media, Dream Records, Gaither Music Group, Green Hill Productions, Inpop, Hillsong, sixsteps records, Sonoma Music, Maranatha! Music, North Point Music, Spring Hill Music Group, Troubadour for the Lord, Universal Music Group, VSR Music Group, Advent Film Group, Anchor Bay Entertainment/Starz, Cinedigm Entertainment, City of Peace Films, Creative Trust Media, Family Movie Night, Getty Music, Friends Media, Foreshadow Productions, Glorious Films, Guardian Studios/Bananas, Jellyfish Labs, Millennium Media Services, Pure Flix Entertainment,  Vertical Praise Productions, Wanderlust Productions, Whitestone Media, Worthy Publishing, Authentic Publishers and many more. Capitol Christian Distribution is a division of Capitol Christian Music Group, which is part of Universal Music's Capitol Music Group. For more information, visit 

About Cinedigm:
Cinedigm is a leading independent content distributor in the United States, with direct relationships with over 60,000 physical retail storefronts and digital platforms, including Wal-Mart, Target, iTunes, Netflix, and Amazon, as well as the national Video on Demand platform on cable television. The company's library of over 52,000 films and TV episodes encompasses award-winning documentaries from Docurama Films®, next-gen Indies from Flatiron Film Company®, acclaimed independent films and festival picks through partnerships with the Sundance Institute and Tribeca Films and a wide range of content from brand name suppliers, including National Geographic, Discovery, Scholastic, WWE, NFL, Shout Factory, Hallmark, Jim Henson and more. 
Additionally, given Cinedigm's infrastructure, technology, content and distribution expertise, the company has rapidly become a leader in the quickly evolving over-the-top digital network business. Cinedigm's first channel, DOCURAMA, launched in May 2014, and is currently available on over 165 million consumer devices including Roku, Xbox and Samsung, with additional platforms currently being rolled out. Earlier this year, Cinedigm also announced plans for a Comic Con branded channel, in partnership with WIZARD WORLD, for launch in Q4 2014. The company recently announced its third OTT channel via a partnership with The Dove Foundation. DOVE MOVIE CHANNEL will be a digital streaming subscription service targeted to families and kids seeking high quality and family friendly content approved by Dove. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Wisdom Tree by Mary Manners - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Wisdom Tree
White Rose Publishing (September 19, 2012)
Mary Manners


A Word from the Author:
I live in the beautiful foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee with my husband, Tim, and our teen-aged daughter, Danni. Also with us are Lucky and Gus - the two cherished cats we rescued from local animal shelters.

I'm a member of the Romance Writers of America and Smoky Mountain Romance Writers. During the school year, I teach middle-schoolers reading and Algebra. When I have free time, I love to garden, take long walks with my husband, and read romance novels in a hammock beneath century-old shade trees.

I write romance novels for White Rose Publishing. If you'd like to visit, I have an author page there, as well. That's where you'll find everything there is to know about my books.

I also have author pages at the following locations. Do come by and spend some time with me there!


Sometimes the last thing we think we need is exactly what God has planned
After the death of his parents, Jake Samuels has enough on his plate—including a fledgling church to lead and a mischievous younger brother to raise. The last thing he needs is a rambunctious woman to contend with.

Carin O'Malley is dealing with the death of her brother and a new job as an English teacher at East Ridge Middle School where Corey Samuels reigns as King of Chaos. The last thing she needs is to fall in love...especially with a handsome and complicated preacher like Corey’s brother Jake.

But when Corey's antics toss Carin and Jake together, the two must draw from God’s wisdom to find refuge in His perfect plan.

------------------------------------------------ Discover your own wisdom tree with the included one-month devotional.

My Thoughts:
I think sometimes God pulls you to the very depths of the ocean before he helps you make that climb to the summit.”  (p.137)

Pastor Jake Samuels and Carin O’Malley have experienced more tragedy than most.  Between the two of their lives, the losses are rather great.  When Carin moves to East Ridge to take a teaching position at East Ridge Middle School, they meet under yet another trial.  Jake’s younger brother Corey is struggling to recover from tragedy too, and between the three of them, they have to figure out a way to move forward.

I like the honesty of this book.  I like the way Jake remains vulnerable with both Carin and Corey about his own pain.  The role of pastor isn’t a magic cloak of protection against the pain of life’s circumstances.  Carin seems to be the most guarded of all the characters in the story, and even that proves to be a very honest look into the human heart.  Corey’s  needs may be the initial encounter between Jake and Corin, but the relationship that Manners builds between them is realistic, and the way she uses Corey’s progress to mirror the healing in Jake and Carin’s lives is my favorite part of the story.

I don’t know what it is, but lately I’ve had to really look beyond the cover art of the books I’m reading. The cover of Wisdom Tree indicates a sappy romance, and it is so much more!  Romance?  Yes, but not in a typical, predictable path.  I am happy to recommend this novel!  The bonus that I REALLY love? The devotional at the back of the book!  BRAVO!! 

If you would like to read the first chapter of Wisdom Tree, go HERE.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


Singer/Songwriter To Take the Stage at Houston's 'That Night, Music'

HOUSTON, Texas (January 17, 2015) - 
Texas-based recording artist and songwriter Chris Whittington is slated to perform alongside  popular recording artist, author and worship leader Tara-Leigh Cobble and CCM pioneer Kemper Crabb at "That Night, Music." The event is set for February 27, 2015 at the Church of St. John the Divine in Houston, Texas. The music will begin at 7:00 p.m. CT.   
Crabb served as producer on Whittington's recently released debut project,Bright Portal, which
has garnered accolades from across the music community.

"Somehow Chris always brings a spirit of unity and fresh air to the table...'Sing With All The Saints' is all you need to love this collection! Deep reverence and melodic joy from a humble servant...My only criticism--need more of it!" says Cadmon's Call percussionist Garrett Buell.

"Chris Whittington's music flows with all the lushness of Eden, but remembers that we are still living east of there. Thoughtful, evocative and moving," says author and theologian R.C. Sproul, Jr.
In addition to his musical talents, Whittington is a successful businessman. He is the founder and owner of Whittington Steel, a Texas-based steel company. Whittington and his high school sweetheart, Joanne, have four adult children: Lindsay, Lauren, John and Leigh Ann. The couple celebrates 35 years of marriage in 2014. 

The concert will be held in St. John the Divine's Parish Center, second floor, 2450 River Oaks Blvd. For more information on the concert, visit or call 713-622-4600. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Return To Exile by Lynne Gentry - REVIEWED

About the Book:
How far would you go to save the ones you love?

Six years ago, impossible circumstances forced Dr. Lisbeth Hastings to leave behind the love of her life, not just in another country, but in another time. Her work as a top-notch epidemiologist and parenting her little girl helps alleviate the pain, but at night when her exhausted head hits the pillow, images of her beloved Cyprian haunt her sleep.

Cyprian Thascius returns from political exile a broken man. He's lost his faith, the love of his life, and his purpose. He attempts to move on, to face the danger that is looming over Carthage, but when Cyprian's true love suddenly reappears, his heart becomes as imperiled as the fledgling church he seeks to save.

Have the years that kept Lisbeth and Cyprian apart created too wide a chasm to bridge? In the midst of a new epidemic and rising oppression, will their love be the most costly fatality? Filled with gripping action and raw emotion, this spell-binding adventure of star-crossed lovers captivates with every turn of the page in this electric continuation of The Carthage Chronicles.
My Thoughts:
Whatever the past bequeaths to us, know this:  God is the one with the ultimate control of the future.” (p.333)

Return To Exile was an unexpected adventure for me!  I never read too much of a book’s description before beginning a story, and I’d have Lynne Gentry’s work highly recommended to me, so I jumped in with no preconceived ideas.  What an adventure!  Looking at the artwork on the cover, I wrongly expected biblical fiction.  What I got instead was so much more!

Dr. Lisbeth Hastings is a time traveler of sorts.  She apparently met and married her husband in another century all together!  (I MUST read the first book of this series!)  Now, the mother of a child conceived in another place and time, she longs to reunite with her husband and introduce him to his daughter.  Lisbeth is also determined to eliminate a disease that is part of an immunization in the present age, but it a plague in an earlier time.  That twist in the plot makes this book fascinating!  There is timeless romance, medical transcendence, a very unique family dynamic that encompasses the time travel and so much more!

The spiritual truths presented are represented in the lives of Christ’s earliest followers!  I love it when an author is able to represent early Christianity so well!  Cyprian Thascius is a very real representation of the challenges faced by the first Christians.  The love he and Lisbeth shares through time is a beautiful representation of grace.

There is just so much to enjoy and appreciate  in this story!  I highly recommend Return to Exile!  And I know I must go back and read the first installment of this series!  I can’t believe I missed it!  The Carthage Chronicles are not to be missed! 

Purchase you copy HERE!

About the Author:

Lynne Gentry has written for numerous publications. She is a professional acting coach, theater director, and playwright. Lynne is an inspirational speaker and dramatic performer who loves spending time with her family and medical therapy dog.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Jesus Culture: Calling a Generation To Revival by Banning Liebsher - REVIEWED

About The Book:
A new breed of revivalist is arising to answer the cry of God’s heart. These burning ones are calling cities and nations back to the Lord, and believing for societies to be transformed by the power and love of God. This is your call and mandate!
It’s one thing to be counter-cultural and go against the flow of culture. But God calls us to an even greater way of living by making Jesus the model for everything we do.
With this revised edition of Jesus Culture, now including helpful study questions and fresh content, you too can join the movement and…
  • Unlock the blessing of honoring those who have gone before you
  • Experience a powerful prayer-life marked by boldness, confidence, and expectancy
  • Activate the supernatural power of God through healing, signs, wonders, and the prophetic
Banning Liebscher, founder of the Jesus Culture movement, believes that you were positioned at this time in history for this moment. Discover the blueprint to fulfilling your purpose, living an extraordinary life, and changing the world—starting wherever God has placed you today!
My Thoughts:
I may just be a drop in the bucket, but the bucket isn’t full until I’m in it.”  (p.62)

“We are called to carry and release the heart of the Lord with humility.  We are instructed to serve others, not manipulate or take control.”  (p. 60)

“God will strategically place you in society as an agent of restoration!” (p. 59)

There was a time in the not too distant past that bold declarations like those above would leave me shaking my head in disbelief.  I’ve repented of that.  I know now, that God has been actively involved in preparing a generation for a revival like the world has never seen!  He has used this book, to call and prepare me to be a revivalist to effect that change in my world.  He has used this book to prepare my heart to release my sons into the world to passionately pursue His direction for their lives and to listen as they share that calling with me.

I’ve been learning how to pray.  I’ve been called to intercede.  Jesus Culture is a God-appointment in my life for more reasons than I am able to count!  I highly recommend this book!! Be prepared to have your faith challenged and your life transformed!!  

About the Author:
Banning Liebscher is on staff at Bethel Church in Redding, California. He and his wife, SeaJay, are the directors of Jesus Culture, a ministry dedicated to mobilizing, equipping, activating, and sending a new breed of revivalists worldwide. Prior to his current position, Banning was the youth pastor at Bethel Church and a lead overseer in the School of Supernatural Ministry.

Jesus Culture Book Interview with Author Banning Liebscher from Jesus Culture on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Where Rivers Part by Kellie Coates Gilbert - REVIEWED

About the Book:
Success too often comes with a price. Juliet never imagined it could be so high.
Dr. Juliet Ryan has devoted her considerable scientific acumen to corporate America, providing safe drinking water for millions--and affording her plenty of perks along the way. It's not the path her estranged father would have her take, but then Juliet finds it difficult to maintain respect for a man she cannot trust. She's on her way up in the world, and she's not going to let anything drag her down.

But when a fast-moving disaster sweeps Juliet into a whirlpool of corporate scandal, lives are at risk--including those of some of the people closest to her. As she scrambles to find answers, Juliet must face her deepest wounds and join forces with the one who has hurt her most in order to expose a far-reaching conspiracy.

Like a mighty river with twists and turns and hidden rocks, this engrossing story will sweep you relentlessly along as it fearlessly explores the seduction of success, the fear of giving up control, and the redemptive power of learning to forgive.

My Thoughts:
If ever Juliet needed God it was now.” (p.262)

Where Rivers Part is a very different story than I was expecting.   I read the synopsis, sure, but I was blown away by the depth of character development and the rich layering of plot lines that seems to weave back and forth like the fragile strength of a spider’s web – drawing you in with its beauty and capturing your imagination and refusing to let go!  What an intricate story line!

Juliet is not a character I cared for at the outset.  Her choices, her demeanor, pretty much everything about her repelled me.  When things started to go south, I almost wanted to say, “Serves you right!”  That’s pretty cold, right?  Her buddy Greer was a slick shyster from the beginning.  I didn’t like anything about him either.  I had very strong gut reactions to all of Gilbert’s characters!  Loved Julia’s mom and her strength and faith.  She was the polar opposite of Julia’s dad – a true picture of mercy and grace.

And the family dynamic….that was painful to read.  Necessary to understand the force driving the characters, but man!  There is just so much in this book!  The medical drama, the race to find answers, the scientific nuances and implications….so much!  Yet Gilbert creates a story that is both intriguing and redemptive while keeping you glued to the pages!

The cover art is rather deceptive so don’t be deterred by that picture.  What lies within the pages of this story is far deeper and complex than the cover reveals!  Don’t miss this outstanding story!

About the Author:
Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who investigated the largest cattle fraud case in US history. Her legal experience gives her an insider's view into how people react under pressure. Gilbert explores the complexity of relationships in her emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances. The author of Mother of Pearl, she currently lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband. Learn more at

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir PRAY - Reviewed

Press Release:
(Brooklyn, NY)--The new CD Pray from six-time Grammy Award-winning Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir debuted in the #1 spot on iTunes Christian and Gospel Albums chart.  
Since its inception over 40 years ago when the Choir began with only nine members, the choir director, Carol Cymbala, has never read music – though she has written numerous hit songs—and the choir has never used charts.  The 300-voice choir is a blend of ethnic and economic backgrounds, with members ranging from lawyers and doctors to former drug addicts.  Cymbala believes that choirs and praise teams have important responsibilities to the churches they serve.  
"When we truly worship, we open our hearts to hear from God," says Cymbala. "Church praise teams should never perform praise and worship. If we simply perform, our congregations become spectators instead of worshipers, and it is vital that we worship from our hearts in spirit and in truth. Worship is contagious, and when we worship as a choir and praise team, the congregation, in turn, begins to lift their hearts and worship God. I also believe our song selections should be simple enough that young and old, the diverse body of Christ, can lift their hearts in praise and worship together as one."
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir has performed at major music venues such as Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, and Madison Square Garden.  In addition to their six Grammy Awards, the Choir has been honored with seven Dove Awards (Gospel Music’s Grammy equivalent), two #1 Billboard charting CDs and over four million albums sold.  The choir sang “The Battle Hymn of The Republic” at President Obama’s second inauguration ceremony on the steps of the U.S. Capitol to a worldwide television audience of over a billion people. The Choir has performed on various national TV shows including Good Morning America andFox and Friends, among others.  Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir was featured on the cover ofThe New York Times and highlighted in  Time Magazine.  The choir’s previous CD, Love Lead the Way, also debuted at #1 on the iTunes Christian/Gospel album chart last year.  For more information, visit
My Review:
I really don’t have words to express how deeply this CD has touched my heart.  I have been brought into God’s holy presence, brought to tears, raised my hands in joy….because Jesus is worthy of my praise, and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir has lifted Christ alone in praise and worship!!  This is such a gift! Such blessed assurance that through Christ we can have the peace, assurance and hope that we long for.  We can rest in the promise that our faith in Christ is enough, no matter our circumstances.  

This is a tremendous offering of praise.  You are able to experience a live performance of this very gifted choir.  I have always been drawn to choir music, and this CD is absolutely gorgeous!  There is a wide variety of music, and every single word and note brings praise to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  What a blessing!!

If I had to pick a favorite….this would be it.  But really, every song on this project is a precious gift!!

All Because of Him  
All of my trust is in // Jesus my faithful friend // Now I am born again // All because of Him // All of my guilt erased // All because He took my place // I am alive today // All because of Him // I still believe // Oh I still believe // I will trust my father’s plan // Yes my heart is in His hands // I still believe // He is all I need // Oh He is all I need // It’s Him I love who loved me first // With the Love that broke sin’s curse // I still believe

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Devotion by Marianne Evans - REVIEWED

About the Book:
From This Day Forward

Christian Music agent Kellen Rossiter has everything he ever wanted: A-list clients from coast to coast, a loving wife who honors and respects him, and a faith life that’s never wavered—until now.

Juliet Rossiter has the perfect life: a rewarding schedule serving the underprivileged, a husband who loves her as Christ loved the church, and a blessed future as a mother—at least that's what she thinks.

For Better or Worse

But what happens when their rock-solid marriage begins to crumble under the weight of an unexpected and powerful temptation?  How does love survive when its foundation is shaken?

'Til Death Do Us Part

When human frailty and the allure of sin deal a harsh blow to their relationship, it will take more than love to mend the shattered trust and heartbreak. It will take a lifetime of devotion.

My Thoughts:
So much love trying to burst its way through so much pain.”  (p.231)

Kellen and Juliet’s journey, sadly, isn’t so rare as you’d like to think among Christian marriages.  Infidelity comes with a very high price, and the journey back to trust – if two people are willing to work toward reconciling the marriage – is almost more painful than the infidelity that caused the break in the marriage to begin with.

Their story is what the journey should look like between two committed Christians, and it is a beautifully painful story to read.  I hope it brings healing to many.

Sadly, I’ll say no more.  My marriage ended after almost 23 years, and I was never offered a chance to reconcile.  That too, is a sad reality.  I will testify to this fact…God is ever near the broken-hearted.  He binds up their wounds and draws them close to His heart. I rest close to the heart of my Savior, and my prayer is that NO ONE will ever suffer the hurt of infidelity ever again.  It is, without a doubt, one of the enemies most painful weapons.  I am so grateful Devotion gives the reader hope that is seated on the promises of God.  I am very grateful!!

About the Author:
Marianne Evans is a multi-award-winning author of over twenty Christian romance and fiction novels. Her hope is to spread the faith-affirming message of God's love through the stories He prompts her to create. Readers laud her work as: 'Riveting.' 'Realistic and true to heart.' 'Compelling.' 

Devotion, earned the prestigious Bookseller's Best Award from Greater Detroit RWA as well the Heart of Excellence Award from Ancient City Romance Authors. She also earned wins for Best Romance of 2012 from the Christian Small Publisher's Association and the Selah award for best Novella of 2013. 

Happily married and the mother of two, Marianne is a lifelong resident of Michigan who is active in a number of a number of Romance Writers of America chapters, most notably the Greater Detroit Chapter where she served two terms as President.